BALTIMORE - More than 31,000 Baltimore children live in food deserts.
In the city, food deserts are defined as neighborhoods located more than a quarter-mile away from grocery stores, with low-income residents that have low or limited access to automobiles.
“Kids believe things don’t taste good because maybe they haven’t been prepared as well and they’re used to getting other kinds of food,” Jacquelyn Duval Harvey, interim health commissioner for Baltimore City, said. “So changing behavior is important, but you start by making it in a place that’s accessible.”
In an attempt to address the city’s issues with unhealthy food options for children, the Mayor’s Office, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the University of Maryland, Baltimore, launched the Get Fresh Baltimore initiative at Lexington Market Wednesday.
“Even if they don’t like the first time they try it, research shows they’ll try it again and maybe we’ll get them to stick [with it] and they’ll love eating cabbage or orange peppers, things like that,” Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake said.
It’s not often that Lexington Market is associated with eating healthy, although already nine vendors have committed to crafting healthy food menus for kids.
“I think it’s all part of the bigger picture that needs to be addressed,” Anne Palmer , of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Creating demand for healthy foods is really important. … You need to have the supply there. You also need to make people to want to change their behavior.”
Watch the video above for an interview with Palmer about the city’s efforts to get kids eating healthier.